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When Is Buying a High-Mileage Car a Bad Idea?

Closeup of car odometer with high mileage to illustrate when is buying a high-mileage car a bad idea.

You notice a red coupe on the dealer lot and it’s love at first sight. Or, is it? A quick glance at the odometer and now you’re not so sure. Your potential dream car has over 120,000 miles on it and that could be a deal breaker. After all, your original intent was to get a low mileage used car. You wonder, “Is it wise to buy a car with high mileage?” and “What will my auto insurance company say?”

Actually, what your insurance company thinks or says is really of little consequence. What you have to convince yourself of is – if it makes sense to buy a vehicle with such high mileage. Keep the age of the vehicle in mind and check its history, if available, including maintenance records, accidents reports, and how many owners it’s had. That information is usually accessible thru Carfax.

What to Consider When Buying a High-Mileage Car

So, before you walk away – consider this: As opposed to 20 years ago, most of today’s late-model vehicles are engineered to run well past 100,000 miles. And, and with proper maintenance and care they should be able to give you double that number of usable miles. In other words, the age of the vehicle and odometer reading, while important, may not be as significant as it once was. It all comes down to how well the car has been taken care of and that – more than anything – will determine when buying a high-mileage used car is or isn’t a fool-hearty idea.

A 100,000 hard-driven miles might as well be 300,000 – no matter how good the car looks. Don’t ignore which state the vehicle originally came from, even if it’s currently residing on a California used car lot or a private party’s driveway. Several severe winters in Buffalo or Chicago – and you may want to shop for another “dream” car.

According to experts, the same applies if you discover the vehicle has been involved in a moderate to serious crash or has a “salvage title”. In both cases, you might have just found out when buying a high-mileage car is a bad idea. Check the tires, suspension and brakes, your car’s top safety features, as they should be subject to extra special scrutiny. Uneven tire wear, front or back, could be your first clue the suspension or frame may have an issue.

High-Mileage Vehicles and Cost

Another thing to consider is how deep your wallet is. When choosing to purchase a high mileage vehicle with over 100,000 miles on it – the extended and factory warranty will have long expired by the time you take ownership, which means you’ll be facing higher overall maintenance costs – and whatever fails or breaks will come right out of your pocket – not the dealership’s or the manufacturer’s.

Of course, “one-owner” high mileage vehicles are best, but often not a reality. The older the car and the higher the mileage, the more likely it has had several owners. And, you’ll probably never know how well it was cared for by each owner.

In the end, whether you purchase the vehicle or not is entirely up to you. But, just remember – without a factory warranty you will be paying all repairs out of pocket. Know what you’re possibly getting yourself into before you decide to drop a healthy chuck of change on a possible nightmare. That said – the red coupe that caught your eye could be a diamond in the rough that will faithfully give you another 100,000 or more virtually trouble-free miles. It is possible.

When it comes to auto insurance – you have to have it. But, nothing says you have to pay ridiculously high rates. So, if you’re looking for the best auto insurance rates possible, call Freeway Insurance today at (800) 777-5620 or get a free auto insurance quote comparison online.

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